How much did you love Heroic!Clark?! I absolutely thrilled at the sight of him saving the day, nothing but a blur as he sped from crime scene to crime scene at the behest of the police scanner, leaving dazed criminals and thugs scattered in his wake. I especially liked seeing him fight regular crime, the underbelly of the human existence, rather than an exotic array of meteor freaks and aliens. But the true evil of the evening, the one Clark could neither prevent nor readily solve, was something else entirely.
Clark answered a call for help at the Ace of Clubs, and upon his arrival made a super jump to reach the penthouse nightclub in an instant. He was literally leaping tall buildings in a single bound, people! And it was a heartbeat away from flight itself! Awesome. What greeted him inside was a harrowing scene of death and destruction, and Clark was shocked to discover a blood-covered Davis in the midst of the wreckage. But in spite of the confusion and trauma at the scene, Clark remained calm and focused, determined to find and stop the killer, obviously far from normal, who wreaked this havoc. He made me proud.
Watching Clark in this episode really brought home to me how seamlessly he has integrated his superpowers into his life lately. It used to be a big deal to see Clark use one of his abilities, and it was often in some isolated incident that came out of a moment of crisis. But when he made the decision to come to Metropolis and work at the DP, he truly accepted who he is, and all he has to offer the world, and we saw him use his powers in a variety of ways, both big and small, throughout this episode. It's yet another reason to celebrate S8 Clark, if you ask me.
Also at the crime scene was a new Metropolis homicide detective,
Phil Morris was fabulous as MM. Woefully underused during the past two seasons, it was a joy to see him finally have a meatier role in Prey. I loved everything about how he played this character, and he was obviously enjoying both the part and the show. He was an absolute delight to watch, and I sincerely hope they bring him back for more in future episodes.
In Prey, Clark was doing his best to fully embrace his destiny. Helping people had become a full time job, and he was pulling out all the stops to do as much good as he possibly could. Based on the mountain of empty coffee cups and crumpled food wrappers that littered his desk, that meant never going home, never going to sleep, and stopping only to eat enough to stay strong, and drink enough caffeine to stay awake. It was a valiant effort, but Clark had no balance, and even his best was not good enough to satisfy the impossible standards he had set for himself. He was stressed, irritable, and distracted. I love him to pieces for wanting to save everyone, but clearly, this couldn't go on.
Desperate for a starting point, Clark went to Chloe for a list of the meteor infected kids who attended her meetings. She refused, outraged, but not until after Clark had already seen and memorized the names, which he gave to MM to investigate. Was Clark wrong? Yeah, I think so. He's never believed that the end justifies the means; that's Ollie's mantra. I fault Clark more for undermining the trust those kids had for Chloe than for investigating them in the first place, though, because that in turn undermines everything she's trying to accomplish at Isis. But I think Chloe was wrong, too, for not trusting Clark with the names in the first place.
I think the show did a good job of introducing a conflict that was symbolic of the most important choice Clark will ever make on his path to becoming Superman: the choice to believe in the moral tenets his parents taught him, and the choice to be a hero within the framework of our society, rather than ruling over us with an iron fist. Because that's how Supes will inspire us to be better than we are, by never wavering from choosing right over wrong, and by showing us that even the most powerful being on Earth can be held accountable by our code of morals and ethics.
Of course I think Clark can and should use his powers to their full extent to fight crime and protect the world, but there have to be limits. Using Chloe's list without her permission and ransacking Davis's locker with questionable probable cause were both borderline actions that tested those limits. I loved seeing Clark pushed into making those choices, and then realizing the cost of them. And watching him struggle with it resonated even more strongly with me now, in these times of personal privacy compromised in the name of national security, as the American government tests some limits of their own.
Tom certainly made all the right choices in his performance. He perfectly portrayed Clark on edge, all but ignoring Chloe, snapping at MM, and lashing out at Davis, focused solely on the task at hand. We could feel the pressure he was under. But he never lost control. His quiet strength at the Ace of Clubs was wonderful to watch, as was his competence and determination during the course of his investigation. Where Tom truly shined, though, was in showing Clark's moment of devastation as he realized he had (for the moment, anyway) been all wrong about Davis, and in the contrite apology the resultant soul searching inspired him to make to Chloe (I'm assuming Davis received an apology of his own, offscreen). That apology was wonderful, and so different from what we've seen from Clark in the past. It was absolutely sincere and heartfelt, but without a trace of guilt or despair. Does Tom own this character or what? *loves him* And I liked Clark's gentle reminder that he wasn't exactly wrong about Chloe's kids.
What I didn't like was Chloe's response. Instead of accepting Clark's apology graciously, she sniped at him, and even worse, she offered no apology of her own. And she absolutely owed him one, for what she said to him in anger when she found out he had used her list. Did she honestly think Clark should come forward about his abilities? And how could she possibly insinuate that Clark is lacking in courage? Calling him the ringleader of a witch hunt for his efforts to solve a terrible crime was just icing on the cake. I get that she was hurt, and angry, but that was way out of line.
But wait, the best was yet to come. When Clark questioned why Chloe was so willing to trust the meteor infected kids at Isis, she pulled out a binder documenting the 327 people she has been unable to save since the ninth grade. And Clark then proceeded to say he's been so busy rescuing people from the meteor infected, he never looked at them from that angle (the compassionate one, I presume). WTF?! Excuse me, but up until the moment Chloe found out she was infected herself, she was hardly the champion of the meteor freaks, as she used to call them. And Clark has always been ready to believe the best of people, and reach out to the victims of the meteor showers for which he continues to feel responsible. Does anyone remember Extinction, when Clark argued with Lana and Chloe, saying it was unfair to condemn anyone with a meteor power out of hand? Or if you want something more recent, does anyone remember Plastique? Sheesh. Sometimes this show is just plain dumb.
Which brings me to the writers of this episode, Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson. Although I like them a little better than I used to, I still haven't forgiven them for Promise, or for what they said about Clark in the S6 Companion. They have a history of making other characters look better at Clark's expense, and that drives me crazy. In the past it's usually been Lana who gets their special attention, but now that she's gone, is it Chloe's turn? I sure hope not, because I like Chloe, but in this episode I found her pretty annoying. Besides what I've already mentioned, what was that crack about Clark joining the Isis group and telling his story? Again, WTF? And is she even qualified to be running these meetings? If her objective is to intervene and prevent these kids from going down Bette's path, shouldn't she bring in a mental health professional to lead her group therapy sessions?
Any discussion of Chloe has to include Davis. Why are these two so devoted to one another all of a sudden? We know a month passed between Toxic and Committed, so maybe they've been inseparable in Offscreenville? It just felt like it came out of nowhere to me. I think Chloe needs to stop and remember her history of poor judgment when it comes to guys, and also what she said to Lois just last week, about how Clark is usually right. That said, however, I have a lot of sympathy for Davis, and that's entirely due to Sam Witwer. He is an amazing actor, delivering a level of intensity and emotion rarely seen on Smallville. He also has an incredible body, but I hesitate to sully my praise for his acting by mentioning it here. :)
And what about the Chimmy? I swear, I can't keep up with what I'm supposed to think about this relationship. Show, last week you tell me Chloe loves no one but Jimmy, forever, and then this week she's flirting in the morgue, and saying she feels an ease with Davis she's never felt with Jimmy? Does this mean I can go back to hating the Chimmy, and stop trying to be a good little fangirl and accept it? Because this is making my head hurt.
I may hate the Chimmy, but I love Jimmy, and I adore Aaron Ashmore. He's a talented actor, natural and relaxed, and a lot of fun to watch. Jimmy was great in this episode. Well, except when he pulled the Chloe card to pressure Davis into letting him ride along in his ambulance, that was lame. His scenes with Clark were awesome, and I can't wait to see more of this storyline where he hunts down Metropolis's mysterious new hero. And his scene with MM made me laugh. Honestly, I fangirl Jimmy like nobody's business, except for anything to do with his love life.
You know I can't finish without mentioning the pretty. Tom was more handsome than ever this week, and that burnt sienna shirt/black slacks combo was simply stunning on him. We also saw close-up after close-up that took my breath away. I know I say it week after week, but how can the man be this beautiful? I didn't even mind THRJ, because he looked so amazing in it. And it's so much more than just Tom Welling's God-given good looks; it's also his demeanor, his stature, and his many nuances of expression. Have I mentioned that S8 is fast becoming my favorite season ever?
Random thoughts: How come Clark was a red and blue blur when he was wearing brown and black? I loved how Clark promised to find a way to get MM's powers back. Krypto perps? hee! Do paramedics really drive around solo? Does anyone else think Davis is kind of girly with all the instant tears? And I can't believe I just said that. LOL! PM was totally channeling Jackie Chiles from Seinfeld in that last scene with Jimmy. And how funny was it when Davis called Clark a Peeping Tom? :)
Prey was a tiny glimpse of Clark's future as the Man of Steel, and I think he's going to rock at it! The bad in this episode drove me nuts, but was still far outweighed by the good, and I remain cautiously optimistic about what's ahead. At the very least I'm intrigued to see how the two storylines set up in this episode play out: Jimmy's pursuit of the city's unsung savior, and the mystery that is Davis Bloome. Once again, I can't wait until next week!